We have another question about copyrights today, more specifically, MyFreeCopyright.com, which is something I see a lot of bloggers using!
I’ve been seeing some blogs that utilize myfreecopyright.com
What are your thoughts on this? Are there any other alternatives?:)
It’s very important to understand that MyFreeCopyright (and similar websites) don’t actually copyright your work. As soon as you create something, you own the copyright completely. That means, you automatically own every single blog post you make. You don’t need a site to copyright your work for you.
Then what does MyFreeCopyright do?
MyFreeCopyright is just a way to help prove that you own the copyright. Basically all MyFreeCopyright does is log the date and time that you created your work, so you can prove the creation day of the work. It doesn’t actually give you copyright, it’s just a way to help prove that the copyright already belonged to you.
But, MyFreeCopyright is, in all likelihood, considered a “poor man’s copyright service”. It’s not an official government website, so you’re not actually registering your copyright with the government.
I’ve heard about a “poor man’s copyright.” What is it?
The practice of sending a copy of your own work to yourself is sometimes called a “poor man’s copyright.” There is no provision in the copyright law regarding any such type of protection, and it is not a substitute for registration.
Although MyFreeCopyright isn’t exactly the process of sending a copy of your own work to yourself, it is VERY similar:
MyFreeCopyright.com captures your original creation’s fingerprint, stores the fingerprint in a database and sends a copy of the fingerprint to you in an email. The email contains the verified date; the fingerprint verifies the digital creation, and your email address verifies it belongs to you.
So it’s still a process of e-mailing yourself, it just goes through an extra step. But I’m inclined to think that it would fall under the term “poor man’s copyright”, which is supposedly not very reliable (or of any use) in court.
When should you use MyFreeCopyright?
Personally, I say don’t use it at all. MyFreeCopyright is not an official government service. It is not an alternative for paying to register your work with the Copyright Office, and you should not treat it as such. Although it MAY be a tiny bit of use in court, you may not be able to take the matter to court if your work isn’t properly registered with the Copyright Office:
Do I have to register with your office to be protected?
No. In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work. See Circular 1, Copyright Basics, section “Copyright Registration.”
Before an infringement suit may be filed in court, registration is necessary for works of U.S. origin.
Circular 1, Copyright Basics, Copyright Registration
So according to Copyright.gov, you are not even allowed to file an infringement suit in court unless your work is registered with the Copyright Office. That means, MyFreeCopyright will be of no use to you.
If you’re willing to take someone to court…
If you really want to have the most protection possible, and if you are fully willing to take someone to court for copying one of your blog posts, you need to register your work with the Copyright Office. There is no free alternative that will reliably hold up in court.
So, long story short, MyFreeCopyright.com will do absolutely nothing to help protect your blog posts from thieves.